The Passage and Repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act, 1885-1943

Non-Chinese workers in the United States came to resent the Chinese laborers, who they feared would squeeze them out of their jobs. Introduction In the 1850s, Chinese workers migrated to the United States, first to work in the gold mines, but also to take agricultural jobs, and factory work, especially in the garment industry. Chinese[…]

How the Burlingame-Seward Treaty of 1868 Changed U.S.-China Relations

There was a general effort to convince the Chinese to adopt a more Western approach to diplomacy and governance. Introduction China and the United States concluded the Burlingame-Seward Treaty in 1868 to expand upon the Treaty of Tianjin of 1858. The new treaty established some basic principles that aimed to ease immigration restrictions and represented[…]

Edible Lessons in Asian-American History from a Cookie Artist

The artist uses her craft to represent and raise awareness of Asian-American history and identity. Jasmine Cho knows the power of a good cookie. “Cookies,” she says, “can make anything more palatable.” Including conversations about race and social justice in America. A baker based in Pittsburgh, Cho creates intricate, hand-drawn cookie portraits of Asian-American figures[…]

An Immigrant Family that Bridged Japanese and American Worlds in Hawaii

How siblings torn between two sides of the Pacific forged identities in the aftermath of war. I still remember them at the dining table after dinner each night in our Honolulu home. Three elegant sisters, styled out of Vogue magazine, their jet black hair in neat chignons and pixie haircuts, each savoring a cigarette and lingering over[…]

In My Family’s American Dream, Bootstraps Met Blocks of Government Cheese

After an arduous journey emigrating from Vietnam in the 70s, the author benefited from both personal resilience and public assistance. I spoke my first words on a boat: “milk,” “cockroach,” and “itchy.” An unusual toddler vocabulary perhaps, but not surprising considering that I spent the second year of my life on a freighter with thousands[…]

Fay Chong and Andrew Chinn: Asian Masters of American Art

Fay Chong and Andrew Chinn were Asian American artists who made major contributions to the two most important movements in American art between 1930 and 1960—Regionalism and Abstract Expressionism. Introduction Fay Chong and Andrew Chinn were Asian American artists who made major contributions to the two most important movements in American art between 1930 and[…]